They’re Natural Aren’t They?

In an attack on magical thinking, YonHap News from South Korea reports that the government has stepped up customs checks for capsules made from foetuses.

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) — South Korea has strengthened customs inspections to stop smuggling of pills made of dead human fetuses or infants from China as such pills could pose serious health hazards, officials said Sunday.

Smuggling of the so-called “human flesh capsules” has increased since the first case was caught in August last year. Customs authorities have so far uncovered 35 attempts to bring in such pills, totaling 17,451 capsules, in travelers’ luggage or by mail.

Such pills are believed to be sold as stamina enhancement drugs, but customs officials said they are contaminated with “super bacteria” and other disease-causing organisms and could cause serious health problems.

Some of those pills are smuggled in capsules of other legitimate drugs to disguise the contents.

Officials said they will strengthen inspections of drugs arriving from China, especially such cities as Yanji, Jilin, Qingdao and Tianjin, where many of human flesh pills are believed to be produced.

What else could be more important than increasing male potency? The magic extends to protection from other diseases as well. More on the story from Yahoo News

The smugglers told customs officials they believed the capsules were ordinary stamina boosters and did not know the ingredients or manufacturing process.

Ethnic Koreans from northeastern China who now live in South Korea were intending to use the capsules themselves or share them with other Korean-Chinese, a customs official said. They were carried in luggage or sent by international mail.

The capsules were all confiscated but no one has been punished because the amount was deemed small and they weren’t intended for sale, said the customs official, who requested anonymity, citing department rules.

China’s State Food and Drug Administration and its Health Ministry did not immediately respond to questions faxed to them Monday. Chinese media identify northeastern China as the source of such products, especially Jilin province which abuts North Korea.

The Jilin food and drug safety agency is responsible for investigating the trade of such remains there. Calls to the agency and to the information office of Jilin’s Communist Party were not answered Monday.

The South Korean customs agency began investigating after receiving a tip a year ago. No sicknesses have been reported from ingesting the capsules.

Most of us can easily see the ridiculous nature of such claims. We have heard how animals have been injured, tortured, or killed (Rhino horns, bear bile, etc) in the name of treatments or cures for disorders or diseases. What isn’t discussed outside of the skeptical community is that it is this exact magical thinking that results in the popularity of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of which these are a part.

The acupuncture concept of meridians, qi in and reiki, laws of similarity and infinitesimals in homoeopathy, subluxations in chiropractic, Five Elements, yin and yang, astrology, and many more are examples of the same type of magical thinking. None of these have the slightest proof in scientific examinations; none have been demonstrated to have any plausibility in the worlds of chemistry, physics, or biology, and yet, TCM is practised and followed by millions of people worldwide.

I have heard so many times that pharmaceuticals, especially vaccines, use materials from aborted foetuses; a myth that is propagated by supporters of magical thinking and their religious brethren and not actual practices of these companies. Critics then jump to the conclusion that since this is what the companies do, then all of their products are evil.  Of course, they are unable to turn the same logic on themselves and declare that since some practices of TCM use actual human and animal parts or excretions, then all must be cast out.

I get called cynical and hard headed because I can’t accept that ‘other ways of knowing’ would open my mind allow me to see the ‘truth’. That Science doesn’t know everything. Science can’t test everything. Then someone comes up with using foetal tissue as a Viagra substitute and my mind closes with a snap.

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One Response to They’re Natural Aren’t They?

  1. Pingback: More on Cannibalistic Medicine | PEI Curmudgeon's Blog

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